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Jane and Her Gentlemen: Jane Austen and the…
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Jane and Her Gentlemen: Jane Austen and the Men in Her Life and Novels

by Audrey Hawkridge

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    The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne (juglicerr)
    juglicerr: Both are "specialized" books, focussing on narrower aspects of Jane Austen's life and work, rather than being regular biographies. For the reader who has read conventional biographies and wants more detail.
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The literature on Jane Austen is so vast that it becomes helpful to have a tertiary literature on special points. This is information about men who were, or may have been, significant in Jane Austen's life. As such, its importance is that it pulls together widely scattered information. I don't think that Hawkridge has come up with significant new information, but she has come up with a number of things that I didn't know, although I have read about 20 books on JA. Since this is a specialty book, she puts in information that most books would regard as inconsequential (e.g. a man rumored to have proposed to JA in a letter), and puts in alternate versions of familiar stories.

Hawkridge also studies the different types of romantic leads that JA created, and considers their relationship to people she knew, although she does begin the book by quoting JA's famous statement that she likes her male characters to well to associate them with a mere mortal.

For people interested in the topic, this is the obvious place to start. Hawkridge has numerous notes and a select bibliography leading the reader to other sources to be explored at length.

I have great praise for the inclusion of of a chronology, would that more historical writers did that, as well as an extremely informative family tree, a bibliography and an index. I give a thumbs down on the notes. In the time-honored and idiotic fashion, the notes are in sections headed simply by the number of the chapter, while the pages have only the chapter title as a running title. Tracking down a note either means keepng track of the chapter that one is reader (a trick that I have never mastered) or flipping to the front of the chapter to find the number. ( )
  juglicerr | Jun 11, 2007 |
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